The Social Security Disability system in the United States is very complicated. Whether you are a recently disabled father trying to provide for your family, a single mother who can no longer work because of an illness, or the parent of a child who needs extra help because of a challenging condition, obtaining benefits is not easy. The “system” involves a complex set of rules and requirements that make it very hard for the average person to successfully receive payments.

There is hope, however, and we appreciate you looking for help here. Our law firm provides unique benefits to clients just like you, which include:

  • A singular focus on representing the injured and disabled.
  • Having all important work performed by an experienced disability attorney.
  • A guarantee that you pay no fees unless you obtain social security disability benefits.
  • A proven track record of success in both routine and difficult cases.

Regardless of whether you are considering filing for benefits for the first time, or have been denied numerous times in the past, please call our office at (404) 255-9838. We will discuss your options free of charge, and help you make an informed decision about what to do next. We look forward to talking with you.

Published on:

Reports of Long Covid diagnoses and symptoms in patients have dropped since the beginning of the pandemic.  The percentage of people who have had COVID and currently report long COVID symptoms declined from 19% in June 2022 to 11% in January 2023. That decrease reflects a reduction in the share of people who have COVID and later report long COVID, which declined from 35% to 28% during the same period.

With the roll-out of vaccines, a significant portion of the population has been vaccinated which has reduced the number of new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.  Currently, 81% of the U.S. population has received at least one vaccine for COVID-19.  Vaccines have been shown to reduce the severity of COVID-19 symptoms and the risk of Long Covid.  Also, increased population immunity through vaccines and prior infections may be reducing these numbers.   Some of the reasons for this involve improved treatment, changes in virus variants and more awareness.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, healthcare providers have gained a better understanding of COVID-19 and have developed new treatments that can reduce the severity of symptoms and the risk of Long COVID. For example, the use of steroids and antiviral medications has been shown to be effective in treating COVID-19.

Published on:

Recently House Republicans, specifically The Freedom Caucus, proposed capping discretionary spending to 2022 levels and remaining at that level for the next decade in an effort to balance the federal budget in 10 years without raising taxes.  The plan involves rescinding unspent pandemic funds, repealing mandatory spending under current infrastructure, climate, tax and health laws

In order to balance the budget in 10 years, the government would need to reduce spending or increase revenue by a significant amount.  Without increasing taxes, balancing the federal budget in 10 years could require a significant cut to federal programs, including Social Security, because these programs account for a large portion of the federal budget.  Congress allocates over half of all discretionary spending to national defense.  The remainder funds the administration of other agencies and programs.

Social Security, in particular, is one of the largest federal programs, accounting for roughly a quarter of all federal discretionary spending.  Some of the funding for Social Security programs does not come from discretionary spending, but rather mandated funding through payroll taxes. Another 25% of federal spending from non-discretionary spending (i.e. payroll tax funding) accounts for the remaining budget for Social Security and Medicare.  Cuts could not be made to mandated spending absent specific legislation.  However, funding for the Social Security Trust always remains at risk as the trustees report that funding is predicted to dip below a level sufficient to pay 100% of benefits in 2035.

Published on:

Abortions are banned in Georgia after six weeks.  Exceptions to this rule are to save the mother’s life; if the fetus is not expected to live; if the preganancy threatens the mother’s physical health and/or if the pregnancy arose from rape or incest.  Patients are required to wait 24 hours after seeking an abortion unless doing so will impact the mother’s life or health.  Patients under 17 must have parental approval.  Minors have to request a judicial bypass to avoid this rule.   Researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder calculated what effect abortion restrictions would have on maternal morbidity by state.   Researchers predicted that Georgia will have a 29% increase in maternal mortality.  Georgia already has the highest maternal mortality rate of all the fifty states, with 46.2 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births, and for Black women that number in Georgia is 66.6 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births.

Maternal health care is a basic human right that should be available to every woman. However, in the United States, the maternal health crisis disproportionately affects Black women, particularly those living in rural areas. Georgia has the highest rate of rate of maternal mortality for Black women.  This disparity is due in large part to the decades-old state regulatory system that gives rural Black Georgians less access to maternity care.  As abortion access is restricted, more women, particularly Black women, are expected to die due to lack of access to maternal health care.

In Georgia, state regulations make it difficult for small, rural hospitals to offer obstetric care, which disproportionately affects Black women who are more likely to live in rural areas. These hospitals must meet strict regulatory requirements to provide obstetric care, including having a certain number of births per year and hiring specialized staff. These requirements are difficult for small rural hospitals to meet, leaving many Black women in these areas without access to maternity care.

Published on:

More and more Georgians are dying of drug overdoses.  Drug overdoses have become a growing epidemic both in Georgia and nationally, increasing to skyrocketing rates since the COVID-19 pandemic. The Georgia Department of Public Health reports from 2019-2021, the total number of opioid-related overdose deaths increased from 853 to 1,718, an increase of 101%. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report that nearly 100,000 people die in this country every year due to drug overdose.  Drug overdose deaths rose by 30% nationally during the pandemic.  Fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid often found in drugs such as cocaine, heroin, and counterfeit pills has driven most of the rise in deaths. From 2019 to 2021, fentanyl-related drug overdose deaths increased 124%, from 614 to 1,379. Non-fatal drug overdoses are also increasing in Georgia. From 2019 to 2021, emergency department visits and hospitalizations for drug overdoses increased 10%, from 24,886 to 27,388.

The opioid crisis is a complex issue that requires a multi-pronged approach to tackle.  Some new approaches  are being implemented to battle this epidemic.

  1. Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)
Published on:

The Social Security Administration proposed a rule change to its regulations in February 2023.  SSA proposes to remove food from the calculation of In-kind Support and Maintenance (ISM).  Supplemental Security Income (SSI) applicants and recipients would no longer need to provide information about their food expenses for consideration of ISM.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a safety net program for adults and children either blind or with disabilities and adults age 65 or older.  Recipients must meet resource and income eligibility requirements. For an individual, the limit for eligibility is $2000; for a couple, $3000.  A home that you reside in and one car are exempt from calculation.  Resources are cash or other liquid assets or any property that can be converted to cash.  Income is anything the recipient receives in cash or in-kind support that can be used to meet food or shelter needs.  Resources affect SSI eligibility.  Income can affect both eligibility and payment amounts.

Once a claimant is eligible for SSI, the person’s monthly payment is determined by subtracting countable income from the Federal Benefit Rate (FBR) which is the monthly maximum SSI payment.  In 2023 the FBR is $914 for an individual and $1371 for an eligible individual with an eligible spouse.

Published on:

Last year Wellstar Health System closed its 450 bed Atlanta Medical Center, one of only two Level 1 trauma centers in metro Atlanta.  A Level 1 Trauma Center provides the highest of trauma care to critically ill or injured patients and can provide complete care for every aspect of an injury through to rehabilitation.  Wellstar also announced the closing of Atlanta Medical Center South in East Point.  AMC was considered a vital health care provider for many low-income residents.  Wellstar blamed the closure on decreasing revenue and inflated costs.

Wellstar claimed to have invested $350 million since 2016, yet cited losses of $107 million in a 12 month period.  Still, Wellstar had $5.7 billion in assets and announced construction plans to expand Kennestone Hospital in Marietta, Georgia.   Wellstar subsequently entered into negotiations with Augusta University Hospital System to purchase two hospitals there.

Last week Georgia Democratic lawmakers, Fulton County officials and the Atlanta NAACP filed complaints with the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Justice and the IRS alleging violations of its tax-exempt status and civil rights violations for closing a hospital in communities of color.  Wellstar receives a significant amount of income from federally funded Medicare and Medicaid programs.  Both complaints concern Wellstar’s funding and status as a non-profit hospital that receives federal funds.

Published on:

Mass incarceration takes its toll on the health of inmates and former inmates.  At any one time in this country more than 6.9 million people are on probation, in jail, in prison or on parole.  Each year more than 600,000 individuals are released from state and federal prisons.  Roughly 1 in 28 children has a parent behind bars.

Recently, Supreme Court Justice Michael Boggs reported on the state of the Judiciary .  Currently state-wide in Georgia one in 33 adults is behind bars.  Since 1980 in Georgia the number of people going to jail has tripled, and the length of the sentence has increased by 160%.  Twenty five percent of these inmates enter with mental health issues.    Mental health inmates tend to stay 4-8 times longer in jail and at seven times the cost.  They are 10 times more likely to be incarcerated than hospitalized and 19 times more likely to find a bed in the criminal justice system than in a state hospital.

The intersection of mental health and law enforcement creates a situation where more mental health care occurs in jails and prisons than in state-wide treatment facilities, taxing the law enforcement community and underserving those with mental health impairments as their primary condition.

Published on:

In 2021, The American Rescue Plan (ARP) implemented a One Year Child Tax Credit Expansion.   The ARP increased the credit from $2000 per child and it raised the age limit from 16 to 17 years.  The plan provided a credit for all working families earning up to $150,000 per couple or a single parent family earning $112,500.

President Joe Biden’s proposed budget for fiscal 2024 includes a reinstatement of the expanded child tax credit.  The Republicans and Senator Joe Manchin blocked the expansion of the child tax credit at the end of 2021.  The current child tax credit provides for $2000 per child.

The Brookings Institute  reported that the 2021 expanded child tax credit cut poverty in half across southern states.  The report noted that states with low cost of living and a high poverty rate had the most significant reduction in child poverty.  The tax credit had the most impact in states with large shares of historically vulnerable demographics, such as single mothers, rural families and Black communities.  The U.S. had a record low child poverty rate in 2021 down to 5.2% of the population, down 46% from the prior year.

Published on:

Medicaid is the federal government health insurance program for people in poverty.  Before the Affordable Care Act (ACA) individuals qualified for this program if they lived at about 64% of the federal poverty level.  In 2023 the federal poverty level is $13,590 for an individual.  The ACA allowed states to expand eligibility for Medicaid to 138% of the federal level (about $18,754 for a single individual in 2023).

To date, forty states have expanded Medicaid.  The states that did not adopt Medicaid are:  Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.  South Dakota has adopted but not implement Medicaid expansion.

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021 provided financial incentives for expanding Medicaid. The coronavirus pandemic adversely affected health outcomes through lack of access to healthcare and increased mortality.  Coverage options for many low-income adults are limited in non-expansion states.

Published on:

January marks the 52nd anniversary of National Blood Donor Month.  Roughly three percent of the U.S. population donates blood each year.  A blood transfusion occurs every two seconds in America.  National Blood Donor month celebrates those who donate regularly and the lives saved as a result.  The winter months are the leanest for donations due to weather and seasonal illnesses.

The nation’s blood supply has dipped to concerning levels and could force hospitals to delay essential blood and platelet transfusions.  Blood donors of all blood types – particularly type O, the type hospitals need the most – are needed to meet hospital demands.

Around 5.6 million donations are collected by the Red Cross every year.  There are approximately 3.3 million people who donate blood which creates over 8 million trans-fusable blood products.  Every year 4.5 million Americans need blood transfusions.

Contact Information